Journal Article

Recycled Images: <i>Rose Hobart</i>, <i>East of Borneo</i>, and <i>The Perils of Pauline</i>

Guy Barefoot

in Adaptation

Volume 5, issue 2, pages 152-168
Published in print September 2012 | ISSN: 1755-0637
Published online September 2012 | e-ISSN: 1755-0645 | DOI:
Recycled Images: Rose Hobart, East of Borneo, and The Perils of Pauline

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In the 1930s, Joseph Cornell appropriated shots from East of Borneo, a film starring Rose Hobart, re-editing, manipulating, and combining them with other found footage to make Rose Hobart, now recognized as a seminal work of American avant-garde film. It is less well-known that Hollywood had already re-used footage from East of Borneo, and that some of the same shots that Cornell recycled can also be found in The Perils of Pauline, Universal's 1933 supposed remake of the silent serial starring Pearl White. Investigating the relationship between East of Borneo and both Rose Hobart and The Perils of Pauline, in this article I examine selected accounts of how Cornell came to make Rose Hobart, available evidence on the production and initial reception of East of Borneo, and scenes from East of Borneo, Rose Hobart, and The Perils of Pauline in which the same images take on radically different significance. I use this to demonstrate how the recycling of images was integrated into the commercial structure of low-budget Hollywood filmmaking in the 1930s, while in focusing on films (rather than literature) as the source material for other films, I place the discussion in the context of wider debates about intertextuality and transtextuality, and raise questions about the limits of adaptation studies.

Keywords: Recycling; found footage; stock footage; East of Borneo; Rose Hobart; The Perils of Pauline

Journal Article.  8135 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film ; Television ; Literature

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